A long, long time ago dinosaurs ruled the earth. Huge, lumbering beasts – nothing dared stand in their way. Well, nothing that could be eaten. Their power was awesome, particularly Dinosauros Allosaursu whose supremacy within the food chain is comparable only to the infamous Bernardarus Matthewus of today.
It certainly was no place for mere humans to try and survive,. Unfortunately, it is into this inhospitable world that we must venture in order to save the human race of the future...
Seismic activity threatens to destroy the dinosaurs. Earthquakes, volcanoes and tremors are decimating the scaly inhabitants of prehistoric Earth. No bad thing? Maybe. Unfortunately, the insignificant, furry warm-blooded mammals that also occupy this hazardous land are our future. ‘Man’ has yet to evolve. If the dinosaurs die out, then our future generations go with them.
Raquel Welch took on the trials of life one million years BC armed with only a champion cleavage. Our hero, Cronos Warchild, comes prepared with a time-machine. It is with this more practical – though decidedly less aesthetically-pleasing piece of hardware, that Cronos must attempt to try and transport the eggs and the dinosaurs’ offspring to safer ground, and hence save the world.
Each level of A Prehistoric Tale offers a new platform and ladder scenario. The idea of the game is to venture from the safety of your time machine, collect as many eggs as you can possibly carry and then return them to safety of your capsule.
Obviously, this isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Firstly, you can only carry three eggs at a time. Secondly before too long some of the eggs start to hatch. Your prey, now worryingly mobile, have to be caged – simply picking them up is not enough. There are also baddies. Spiders, carnivorous plants, creepy-crawlies and spikes also adorn the screens and must be avoided or destroyed.
Every now and then a swarm of parent dinosaurs - miguidedly thinking that your ‘fiddling’ with their offspring isn’t healthy and will have ghastly effects upon their future toilet habits – will fly across the screen in an attempt to halt your progress.
You must however keep collecting eggs, caging babies and avoiding baddies until your energy level ‘egg-spires’ and you become ‘egg-stinct’. It’s the usual routine -returning to the capsule restores your fragile energy reserves, colliding with baddies sends the scale plummeting towards the big zero.
Of mice and marijuana
Power-ups can be collected along the way. These come in the form of bonus points, mice, batteries to enable you to carry more than three eggs at a time, marijuana leaves which reverse the joystick polarity and other useful (well, less hallucinogenic) goodies. Collecting and then dropping a mouse on a platform will render it baddy-free for the rest of the level (or until the mouse dies). Mice are killed by dropping boulders on them.
Apart from the theological implications of this incestuous -infanticide in reverse (that mouse could’ve been your great-great-etc grandmother), this also means that the creepy-crawlies can return in a renewed attempt to poo on your parade.
Cronos must progress through 80 levels of action before his mission is complete. After each tenth level, one of three styles of bonus rounds will appear. These do well in breaking up the monotony of the gameplay but don’t add to the adventure itself. The graphics are functional – the sprites are well detailed and move well – but really quite bland. Where A Prehistoric Tale does pick up points, however, is in the music department – the soundtracks are excellent.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t enough to raise it to a position above the common herd – there isn’t enough depth to the gameplay. It is most definitely fun to play (especially in the simultaneous two player mode – you can drop boulders on your buddy), and it isn’t as straightforward as it first appears, but then again don’t expect anything wonderful.
For prehistoric fun, time-machines are all very well, but I think I would rather stick to Raquel’s cleavage.